Jagran Bureau, New Delhi. On Thursday, the petitioners demanded to refer the matter of ban on hijab in Karnataka schools to the Constitution Bench. Senior advocate Kapil Sibal said the matter should be referred to a Constitution Bench for consideration in view of the importance and wider implications of the matter. It is not only a matter of freedom of expression, but it also includes the concept of qualified public space.
Right to determine dress for educational institutions
On the plea of the petitioners, the Supreme Court said that the rules say that educational institutions have the right to determine the dress. Hijab is completely different from this. A day before this, the Supreme Court objected to the continuous submission of new arguments by the petitioners, which were not given in the High Court.
The state cannot ask us to give up our right to privacy
Another lawyer opposed the ban on hijab saying that on one hand I have the right to get secular education and on the other hand I have the right to protect my privacy and culture. The effect of the state government’s order banning hijab is that we will teach you to give up your right to privacy. The state cannot ask us to give up our right to privacy. Further debate will take place on Monday.
The High Court had upheld the decision of the government
A bench of Justices Hemant Gupta and Sudhanshu Dhulia in the Supreme Court is currently hearing the matter of ban on hijab in schools in Karnataka. The Karnataka High Court had upheld the state government’s order banning the compulsory uniform and hijab in schools. The High Court had also said that wearing hijab is not an integral part of Islam.
Request to send the matter to the Constitution Bench
Many Muslim girl students and organizations of Karnataka have challenged the High Court’s decision in the Supreme Court. Arguing against the ban on hijab on Thursday, senior advocate Kapil Sibal requested to refer the matter to a constitution bench. He said that first the question should be decided whether wearing a dress is self expression, it is a thing related to autonomy. I can wear mini skirts or whatever I want.
Hijab part of my culture, custom
Dress comes in privacy which is Article 19(1)(a) of freedom of expression. Is this my fundamental right not applicable in public place? Will it end there? The Constitution does not say so. Wearing of dress is freedom of expression under Article 19(1)(a) and it can be controlled only on the grounds laid down in 19(2). Hijab is a personal part of me. It is part of my culture, custom, can this right of mine be stopped at the school gate.
16% Muslim girls drop out
Sibal, citing a report, said that the report is based on RTI which states that 16 per cent Muslim girls have dropped out of school and have taken their TC. In this context, the effect of the matter should be seen and the matter should be sent to the Constitution Bench for consideration. Lawyer Shoaib Alam termed the ban on hijab as wrong and said that irrational condition cannot be imposed.
Responsibility of the government to provide facilities for education
He said that it is the responsibility of the government to provide facilities to get education. He said that on one hand I have the right to get secular education and on the other I have the right to protect my privacy and culture. The effect of the state government’s order banning hijab is that we will teach you to give up your right to privacy. The state cannot ask us to give up our right to privacy.
Wearing Hijab is an integral part of Islam
Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves debated whether wearing hijab is an integral part of Islam or not. He said that the High Court judgment states that wearing hijab is not an integral part of religion. I will refer to the decisions of three countries South Africa, Canada and Kenya on this issue in which it is not considered necessary to be an integral part.
Karnataka High Court order should be quashed
He said that the question before the court is whether the practice which is not an integral part of religion will come under Article 25 (religious freedom). Gonsalves said the order of the Karnataka High Court is wrong, it should be quashed.
Freedom of expression arguments
Gonsalves compared the kirpan, turban and hijab, saying that the constitution is a living document. should change with time. What was not understood earlier should be accepted today. Lawyer Prashant Bhushan also argued for violation of freedom of expression and religious freedom by banning the hijab.
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